GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi presents Take me To the River

By | Delta Center, GRAMMY | No Comments

GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi will present a live performance on the front lawn, educational programs and more on Sept. 26, based on the award-winning film and album, “Take Me To The River.” The events will celebrate Mississippi’s music history and how the region laid the foundation for American music.

This historic show will feature a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see GRAMMY® -winning legends William Bell, Bobby Rush and Charlie Musselwhite share the stage to perform classics and new “Take Me To The River” collaborations along with an all-star Memphis band. Other special guests include Hi-Rhythm Section, GRAMMY-winner Boo Mitchell, award-winning director Martin Shore, Academy Award winner Frayser Boy, and Critics Choice Award winner Al Kapone.

In addition to the live performance, there will be an educational program for students in the morning and a conversation with Charlie Musselwhite in the afternoon.

Admission is free for the live performance on the front lawn, but attendees are required to register online prior to the event. To learn more and register, click here.

The conversation with Musselwhite is free with the purchase of museum admission. To get more details, click here.

To learn about the “Take Me To The River” education program for students, click here.

Collectively, these programs at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi are an official bicentennial project made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority. Support for these programs also comes from the International Delta Blues Project, which is housed in The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University.

Campus unites for Hurricane Harvey victims

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, Students, volunteering | No Comments

A massive donation drive came to a close Thursday after students, faculty and staff across campus donated items to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Spearheaded by the Administrative Staff Council at Delta State, the donation drive service project was in partnership with two local relief initiatives led by the town of Boyle, Catfish Cabin and Sen. Willie Simmons at The Senator’s Place.

“The service project received an enormous response, and thousands of relief items were collected on the Delta State campus,” said Caitlyn Thompson, president of the ASC. “Items included bottled water, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, baby needs, personal hygiene items, paper towels, toilet paper, linens, pet food and much more.”

The items were collected and packed into vehicles Thursday and then delivered to Texas by local initiative leaders.

“The mission of the project was to provide support to those in need after the natural disaster,” added Thompson. “The project aligned with one of Staff Council’s stated purposes, which is to give back to the community through service projects and volunteer work. The demonstrated support for this project is just one example of how the DSU family gives back beyond the educational sector.”

Delta State’s Staff Council serves as a liaison between the administration and the staff to provide a formal process for staff to discuss issues involving university policies and procedures and to forward ideas, recommendations and options to the president.

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.

Delta State enrollment increases over five percent

By | Academics, Admissions, Faculty/Staff, IHL, President, Students | No Comments

For the fourth year in a row, Delta State University is proud to announce an increase in university enrollment.

The preliminary numbers, as of Sept. 8, were 3,035 undergraduate students and 743 graduate students, for a total enrollment of 3,778. The increase of nearly 5.5 percent was the largest increase among the state’s eight public universities this year.

According to Delta State University President William N. LaForge, the growth is due to a number of major institutional efforts.

“I am very pleased with the increase in enrollment for the fall of 2017,” said LaForge. “Early reports indicate we are up 190 students, or nearly 5.5 percent over last year. This significant uptick represents the fourth consecutive increase, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

LaForge credited six major reasons for the enrollment increase:

  • A great team of faculty and staff across campus.
  • Smarter and more targeted recruiting in high schools and community colleges. This includes doubling community college recruiters, and increasing partnerships with high schools.
  • Improved retention rates thanks to engaged faculty and programs such as the Student Success Center and First Year Seminar.
  • Signature programs that continue to attract more students, including the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing, Delta Music Institute, Health/Physical Education/Recreation, and Aviation.
  • Doubling the number of international students in the last three years.
  • Offering a competitive tuition rate with stellar academics, including capstone projects for every major — all at an unparalleled value.

“I would be remiss not to mention that we have a welcoming student environment,” added LaForge. “Students feel very welcomed here and have the total college experience. There’s a buzz on campus, and there’s excitement all around.”

Caitlyn Thompson, director of recruiting, said recruitment efforts have focused on directly communicating with potential students.

“The recruiting staff worked very hard over this past year to reach new students, and one effort that may have contributed to the enrollment increase is the E-Communication Center that was implemented last fall,” said Thompson. “Current Delta State students contacted prospective students to speak with them about topics like campus events, scholarships, admissions deadlines, application reminders and more.”

Tricia Walker, director of the Delta Music Institute, said the DMI program has experienced significant growth over the past few years.

“The sustained growth of the DMI program brought the opportunity to add a faculty member and a studio manager to our ranks in order to better serve our students,” said Walker. “We are grateful to the administration for their support of this unique program. With an incoming class of more than 30 new students this fall, the DMI will exceed 120 majors in our entertainment industry studies program. We are packed and we like it that way.”

Tim Colbert, chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, said HPER is one of the fastest growing majors.

“HPER has good degree options in multiple areas that lead not just to employment, but also sustainable careers with a chance for advancement,” said Colbert. “Our faculty understand how to relate to students on a personal level and help them to deal with their issues to become successful.”

Additionally, Delta State saw another uptick this year in the number of international students. Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center and International Student Services, is proud that the university has doubled its international student body since the spring of 2013.

“We love that our international student population is growing each year,” said Riddle. “International students contribute so much to campus because of their global perspectives and diverse cultures. We welcome them to Delta State and look forward to even more international students for years to come.

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.

COAS to kick off luncheon lecture series

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The College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State is pleased to announce the launch of its new luncheon lecture series Café Scientifique.

The monthly series kicks off Sept. 13 from noon to 1 p.m. in the GIT Center (Kethley Hall Room 150). The events are free and open to the public.

Presenters will include Talbot Brooks, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies, and Chris Smith, program manager for the center.

Brooks’ topic is entitled “Mapping Crisis: A Standards Approach to Using the U.S. National Grid,” and Smith will present on “A Geostatistical Analysis of Severe Weather in the Mississippi Delta.”

“I will be sharing how mapping and analyzing the location of severe weather events for the past 60 years of the Mississippi Delta region shows that those events are clustered around populated places, in relation to hail, tornadoes and severe wind datasets,” said Smith.

Smith added that GIT Center student workers and geospatial analysis and intelligence majors have volunteered the majority of their time the past two weeks to create United States National Grid Mapbooks of the affected areas of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

“These students will continue to support the emergency responders out in the field until mapping support for the disaster rescue and recovery efforts are no longer required,” said Smith.

For more information on the lectures, contact Dr. Douglas Mark (dmark@deltastate.edu) or Margaret McClain (mmcclain@deltastate.edu).

King sculpture pays heartfelt tribute to Schmidt

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Visitors to downtown Cleveland are enjoying the recent expansion of Delta State’s Hazel and Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden with five new installations along Sharpe Avenue.

One sculpture holds special meaning thanks to the creative work of recent Delta State graduate Lawson King ’17, an art major originally from Indianola.

His 8-foot steel and recycled rope sculpture “Broken Arrow” stands tall in dedication to former Delta State professor Dr. Ethan Schmidt, who fatally fell victim to gun violence in 2015.

“I dedicated the piece to him because his shooting caused me to react — caused me to respond to the traumatic experience,” said King. “The more I found out about the shooting, the more I felt connected to it.”

King found many similarities to the incident after his father was killed in a shooting at the age of three. King also taught with Schmidt’s wife at a local elementary school through his participation in the Delta Arts Alliance’s artist-in-residence program.

“It was personal for me to create this piece, but I also wanted to do it for Ethan’s wife and his kids,” said King. “I wanted to show them that I was three when my father was killed, and I think I turned out alright.”

Michael Stanley, chair of the Delta State Department of Art, was thrilled with King’s dedication, noting that he was the first student/alumni to have work displayed in the sculpture garden.

“Lawson’s piece is a very powerful tribute to Dr. Ethan Schmidt because he elegantly intertwines a number of very complicated ideas into one sculpture,” said Stanley. “The broken arrow is a symbol that represents peace and also refers to Ethan’s expertise in Native American history. It’s also a direct reaction to the events that took place the day of the shooting. Instead of using an image of violence, Lawson chose an image of peace, which is much more powerful in my opinion.”

The sculpture garden has developed into an iconic element of Delta State’s campus, and it has shown growth in recent years while expanding across the university, to the grounds of GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi, and downtown Cleveland.

Judson Thigpen, executive director of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, said the sculpture garden’s development continues to forge the town-gown relationship.

“The sculptures are a continuation of the Hazel and Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden at Delta State into the community,” said Thigpen. “It’s an added treasure that one of the sculptures is dedicated to the life of Ethan Schmidt and the lives he touched while here.”

Stanley agreed that the expansion of the sculpture garden strengthens the partnership between the university and the city of Cleveland.

“We cannot survive without the other, and this is a wonderful display of cooperation and a great visual reminder of this unique relationship,” he said.

Public sculpture was a big reason King pursued his art degree, as he felt public art was lacking in his hometown. The facilities in the art department make it possible for students to create large-scale public works.

King said it was an incredible honor to be selected in the first group of downtown sculptures.

“It feels like such a big accomplishment for me,” he said. “It’s awesome to be included with super talented sculptors from across the country. Just to be accepted and be among them in the first round of downtown sculptures — it means a whole lot to me.”

Learn more about the Hazel and Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden at http://thesculpturegardenms.com/.